Advent Devotional - Day 5
by Denee Bowers on December 3rd, 2020
Thursday, December 31 Peter 1:3-5Growing up I went on a lot of canoe trips with my family. We would pack up the canoe with ice chests with drinks and food, bags with extra clothes and equipment, and if we were going over night we’d include a tent. I learned on these adventures that one of the most important things on a canoe trip isn’t your water shoes or your ice chest or even your paddle. Instea...  Read More
Advent Devotional - Day 4
by Denee Bowers on December 2nd, 2020
Wednesday, December 2Hebrews 10:23Hold on to HopeJesus is our strong foundation. Our anchor who grounds and steadies us throughout life’s storms and tempests.As I look ahead, like you, I know Christmas for my family will be drastically different. Typically, my large extended family of about 50 people or so gather in a banquet hall for Christmas breakfast, exchanging gifts, sharing celebrations and...  Read More
Advent Devotional - Day 3
by Denee Bowers on December 1st, 2020
Tuesday, December 1Micah 7:6-8Every generation has expectations or ways of doing things that might seem strange to the ones that came before. Change seems part and parcel with being human, and it’s often very healthy. Still, there are tenacious norms, patterns that many say “should” exist, or that have long been consistent throughout years and centuries.In this passage, the prophet Micah describes...  Read More
Advent Devotional - Day 2
by Denee Bowers on November 30th, 2020
Monday, November 30Psalm 130:1-8Verse one of The Message version of this passage reads:“Help, God -- the bottom has fallen out of my life!”I find that description provides a super helpful visual. The author was standing on something they thought was solid. Their foundation felt firm. Then the bottom fell out.For many of us the bottom fell out somewhere around mid-March of this year. In the weeks a...  Read More
Advent Devotional - Day 1
by Denee Bowers on November 29th, 2020
Sunday, November 29The First Sunday of AdventEvery Sunday during Advent we invite you to join us in lighting an Advent wreath in your home. These wreaths can be elaborate parts of your Christmas decor, or they can simply be four candles gathered from around the house (Pinterest is full of inspiration).Traditionally, many families light their Advent candle at dinnertime or during an evening quiet t...  Read More
M-Note 11.26.2020 // Thanksgiving Edition
by Amy Sanders on November 26th, 2020
Gathering,Earlier this week, I spoke to a large group of pastors from all across Canada. Originally planned as an in-person event, it turned into a 3 day Zoom conference (#2020). I led them through a conversation about leading change in congregations based on my book Let Go. At one point, the organizer wished me a Happy American Thanksgiving (the Canadians celebrate it earlier in the fall), and th...  Read More
An Attitude of Gratitude // M-Note 11.20.2020
by Amy Sanders on November 20th, 2020
Type your new text here. Gathering,I often say that gratitude is like penicillin for our soul. It helps us overcome a variety of ills. Anger, despondency, self-centeredness, anxiety, isolation, and cynicism can all change as we practice gratitude. But, it is hard to think about thanksgiving in the midst of a year like 2020. As a pandemic continues to rage, affecting nearly every aspect of our live...  Read More
The Power of Generosity // M-Note 11.13.2020
by Amy Sanders on November 13th, 2020
Gathering,This past week, I received tragic news from Mozambique. Reports indicate that insurgents allegedly associated with ISIS have committed ever increasing acts of violence in the northern part of the country. This past week, they reportedly killed at least 50 Mozambicans, many of them young boys. This area of Mozambique is rich with natural resources and therefore valuable to whomever holds ...  Read More
Waiting with Hope // M-Note 11.6.2020
by Amy Sanders on November 6th, 2020
Gathering,We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn't hope. Who hopes for what they already see? But if we hope for what we don't see, we wait for it with patience. In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don't know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. Roman 8.24-26 As I write this on Friday morning, Americans are...  Read More
How Would Jesus Vote? // M-Note 10.30.2020
by Amy Sanders on October 30th, 2020
Gathering,Two weeks ago today, I voted early for the upcoming election. Even then, I waited nearly an hour in line along with hundreds of other people. I didn’t mind the wait. I consider it a privilege to participate in a democracy through voting. Historically at least, this is a rare right and one that I don’t take lightly. People often speculate how Jesus would vote. They argue over whether or n...  Read More
Intentional, Deliberate, and Disciplined // M-Note 10.23.2020
by Amy Sanders on October 23rd, 2020
Gathering,I have a brother two years younger than me. Growing up we were always close. We would play video games together, basketball, ride bikes, and even box in the front yard (we only had one pair of gloves so I would get the left and he would get the right). While we went to different colleges, we stayed close. After school, he moved in with Jessica and me to live with us for a while before ge...  Read More
A Prayer for Resiliency // M-Note 10.16.2020
by Amy Sanders on October 16th, 2020
Gathering, This morning, I went to Laclede Elementary School where I prayed with teachers, administrators, and staff. As one of our partner schools, they are preparing to receive students on Monday. But, we were there for a more tragic reason, as well. Last week, Doryan Bryant, a smart, resourceful, and gifted student in our literacy project, was shot and killed along with her mother. Her death im...  Read More
Looking Ahead // M-Note 10.9.2020
by Amy Sanders on October 9th, 2020
Gathering,We continue to forge ahead in a year where nothing has been predictable. Since March, The Gathering has been worshiping online due to coronavirus. This summer, I updated the congregation, letting you know that we would worship online through September. I ended that note promising that I would update you this fall! Well, fall is here! I owe you an update. Recently, I’ve had conversations ...  Read More
Getting Your Head On Straight // M-Note 10.2.2020
by Dave Merrill on October 2nd, 2020
Dear Gathering, Last Wednesday, Dave Merrill, Ryan Hebel, and I drove out to the city where I grew up. We visited a few farms for a video project we are working on at the church. In the morning, we arrived at a home that sits high above the Missouri river. Owned by an older couple that I have known since I was a kid, the house dates back to right around the Civil War and is surrounded by barns, a ...  Read More
Vacation Reflections // M-Note 8.7.2020
by Dave Merrill on September 28th, 2020
My trip away didn’t give me any dramatic insights or great awakenings, but I thought I’d share a few things that rose to the top as I spent time with myself, my family, and God. In no particular order:  Read More
Getting Unstuck
by Dave Merrill on September 25th, 2020
When you are stuck, it is hard to get unstuck. Why? Because in life, the very activities that help us get out of a spiritual rut are often the very activities that are hardest to do when we are in the rut.   Read More
Be a Headlight
by Dave Merrill on August 4th, 2020
In 2016, while speaking to a group of journalists at a Pulitzer Prize anniversary event, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis urged the audience to “be a headlight, not a taillight”.  Read More





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